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integral thepastismyshadow
Artist: Integral
Title: The Past Is My Shadow
Genre: Electronic
Release Date: 1st November 2011
Label: Tympanik Audio

Album Review

Around the years 2002 - 2006 the duo we would later know very well as INTEGRAL was already busy experimenting with the possibilities of electronic sound synthesis. Unfortunately, none of the material created at the time made it to the public. At least not that we know of. 3 years after ‘Rise’ a collection of 18 unreleased tracks, titled ‘The Past Is My Shadow’ sees a release on Tympanik Audio. ‘Als Wären Wir Niemals Gewesen’ is the opening and a swansong at the same time. First there’s the turmoil of a funfair, to fade when the organic melancholia of the acoustic guitar takes control. INTEGRAL once mentioned they wanted to go for a rather organic approach in the future. If it’s sounding anything close to that I’m anxious to hear the results of their fusion with cutting edge music technology. ‘Pop Realta’ indeed has a slightly poppy vibe to it, though ultimately it’s way too complex and elaborate for a simple pop song. The rhythm section alone already is a stunning piece of work. Wonder how that’s going to sound with real percussion.

‘Work With The Mind’ is part Blade Runner dystopian score and a cleverly arranged cluster of noises out of which edgy patterns arise. It’s kind of fascinating how those moods build throughout the track and how they can’t even be destroyed by the erratic nature of the beats. ‘No Piece’ hides thoughts in a haze and leaves it up to the listener to decipher the hidden message on their journey through the grey. Thoughts of past events have taken on a physical form here and come to you as ambient washes and voices from inside the cloud. Indeed a mysterious track. The force of complexity on ‘?’ is sheer overwhelming. It is not so much about atmosphere but about experimentation with rhythm which is exercised with great skill here. Leaving aside all the disturbing noises, effects voices and so on ‘Die Revolution des Verstandes’ (The Revolution of the Mind) is a pretty straightforward thing actually. Then again it’s just too engaging in its conception, the set of moods to creepy to work in such a setting and I’m grateful it is.

More than any of the tracks before ‘Atakama’ exhibits what INTEGRAL would sound like years later on ‘Rise’. The seamless sequencing of otherwise redundant sounding samples to something challenging, intriguing. ’Asphalt Architecture’ marks the beginning of the second disc: I just can’t help it. Every time I listen to it I have to think of a city built in the middle of a desert. ‘Bells’ is an old clock ringing making the passing of time visible. A strange feeling overcomes you while listening. They say that synthetic life is cold and void of any emotions. Listening to ‘CPU Fairytale’ however makes you reconsider what “they” say. Those dim landscapes painted here stir long buried feelings; lost bits of the past. ‘Githarsis’ is something like a medieval lullaby gone electronic. With all the twist the rhythmic section reveals it never takes away nor overshadows the sublimity of the melody. A strong classical instrument is harboured within ‘Radio Sehnsucht’; the piano melody being the vocal point of it all. Sometimes it disappears for a while to leave the stage to electronic wizardry.

The last thing to write about is the title track. There’s a similarity between this and the previous one. They share the strong influence of classical music on the composers. Something that hasn’t come out that much on ‘Rise’. I like the direction though and perhaps we get to hear some more of that sometime. It’s quite easy to find a word for the collection: Fantastic! What is not so easy is to pigeonhole everything to a particular style drawer. Influences are coming from everywhere. Anything that fits the track’ concept is used to get the right result. Question is: Where do INTEGRAL actually go from here? Here’s hoping the answer won’t be too long in coming.


01. Als Wären Wir Niemals Gewesen
02. Pop Realtá
03. Work With The Mind
04. No Peace
05. Synthie Raga
06. Rubikon
07. ?
08. Die Revolution des Verstandes
09. A Taste Of Your Future
10 Atakama

01. Asphalt Architechture
02. Bells
03. CPU Fairytale
04. Waiting
05. And Never Lose Hope
06. Githarsis
07. Radio Sehnsucht
08. The Past Is My Shadow




Cover Picture

integral thepastismyshadow


Music: 9
Sound: 9
Extras: 9 (Artwork)
Total: 9 / 10

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